Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education) - Early Years Course Online | learndirect

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education) - Early Years


If you have the energy and drive to work with young children, then the Access to HE Diploma (Education) Early Years is perfect for you. The phrase 'early years' usually alludes to the time of a child's life between the ages of zero and five. This is an essential stage during every child’s life and they should be bolstered by gifted and devoted experts if they are to prosper.

This pathway mainly focuses on childhood studies and gives learners an understanding of the fascinating world of early years development. Participants will engage in academic and practical elements of study by learning the best ways to support a growing child. Access to HE Diplomas have been tailored towards learners who have been away from the education environment for some time and do not hold the qualifications required to progress to university.

Check this is the right course for you

It is important to check with the university, or further educational establishment, of your choice to ensure that your Access to HE Diploma meets the entrance criteria for the degree course you wish to study. If your selected university request additional information, just let us know and we can provide it for you.

Students who complete the Access to HE (Education) Early Years diploma will be able to continue studying teaching and education degrees at university. A vast majority will even choose a course that specialises in early years education. Upon completion of your undergraduate degree, you will be eligible to apply for a wide variety of graduate schemes, postgraduate qualifications and careers.

In order to become an early years teacher, you are required to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). To achieve this, you will need to study an undergraduate degree that includes QTS or work towards a PGCE. However, should you decide to pursue a different career path, this degree could prepare you for a career in social work, child psychotherapy, or nurseries.

How does the course work?

All students are provided with a comprehensive set of course materials to help guide them through the qualification. Our easy to understand course materials are packed with stimulating and useful information. On top of that, every student has access to our expert tutors. All of our tutors are committed to helping students succeed and can be contacted for support via our online portal, phone or email.

Distance learning

Distance learning offers a great deal of flexibility, which is perfect for those who want to study but have busy lives. However, this does mean that you will have to be firm with yourself at times. Independent study takes self-will and motivation and students must be able to set themselves genuine realistic targets if they are to succeed. This may sound difficult, but with the support of your tutor, and reassurance from your fellow students, you will quickly develop a productive routine.

You can complete your course in 6 months or stretch it out over a period of 18 months. Remember, this course has been specially designed to fit around your schedule.




Module 1: Preparing to study

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand how study is organised and planned
  • Understand how to apply theories of learning in relation to personal approaches to learning
  • Understand a range of constraints upon study
  • Understand the importance of assessment feedback

Module 2: Academic writing skills 

On completion of this module you will:

  • Be able to write with relevance in responding to an academic task
  • Know how to interpret and discuss concepts and debates in responding to a set, academic writing task
  • Be able to summarise for academic purposes, selecting key points, information or central ideas
  • Understand the role of reference, allusion and paraphrase to avoid plagiarism

Module 3: Preparing a written assignment   

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand how to use key information sources
  • Understand why sources are acknowledged and referenced
  • Understand a range of reading strategies
  • Understand note-making methods
  • Understand how to plan draft and produce a written assignment

Module 4: Independent research 

On completion of this module you will:

  • Be able to plan a piece of research on an approved subject area
  • Be able to collect research material from different sources
  • Be able to use data to substantiate an argument
  • Be able to record sources of information
  • Be able to present research findings

Module 5: Theories of child development

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand Piaget’s theory of development
  • Understand the major criticisms of Piaget’s work in child development. 
  • Understand alternative theories of development. 
  • Understand how stages of development link to practical situations. 

Module 6: Progressing to Higher Education

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand potential next steps in education
  • Understand key sources of information relevant to HE application
  • Understand personal HE opportunities
  • Understand the financial implications of further study
  • Know how to apply for a course

Module 7: An Introduction to classroom teaching

On completion of this module you will:

  • Plan and prepare for teaching within the National Curriculum
  • Understand the importance of classroom design

Module 8: Behaviour problems in the classroom

On completion of this module you will:

  • Recognise anti-social behaviour
  • Recognise anti-institutional behaviour
  • Understand the formal discipline processes/procedures of a school
  • Understand the informal methods of implementing discipline within a classroom setting
  • Understand some of the underlying causes of behavioural problems as displayed in the classroom

Module 9: Disability

On completion of this module you will:

  • Know how to plan action learning relating to disability
  • Understand areas of anti discriminatory practice and core social work values relating to disability
  • Understand legal and policy frameworks relating to disability
  • Understand theoretical perspectives relating to disability that inform practice
  • Understand skills relating to working with disability that inform practice

Module 10: Child protection 

On completion of this module you will:

  • Know how to plan action learning relating to child protection
  • Understand areas of anti discriminatory practice and core social work values relating to child protection
  • Understand legal and policy frameworks relating to child protection
  • Understand and explore relevant theoretical perspectives relating to child protection that inform practice
  • Understand skills relating to working in child protection that inform practice

Module 11: Anti-oppressive practice 

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand the legal framework which identifies rights and responsibilities in relation to equal opportunities
  • Understand how individuals can be affected by oppression
  • Understand society’s and own stereotypes
  • Understand the use of positive action in countering oppression

Module 12: Theories of cognitive development & Learning

On completion of this module you will:

  • Have knowledge of theories of cognitive development
  • Understand learning theory
  • Have knowledge of the application of theories of learning and cognitive development to classroom practice

Module 13: Introduction to teaching & learning

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand models of teaching and learning
  • Understand ‘blocks’ to learning
  • Understand curriculum planning and lesson planning

Module 14: Human reproduction, growth & development 

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand the structure and function of the human reproductive system
  • Understand how hormones regulate the reproductive tract throughout life
  • Understand the sequence of events from conception to puberty

Module 15: The developing child 

On completion of this module you will:

  • Display knowledge of the process of Child Development
  • Display knowledge of theories of cognition and socialisation
  • Display knowledge of studies and debates over the concept of intelligence
  • Understand processes of developing psychological schemas

Module 16: Play

On completion of this module you will:

  • Define ‘play’
  • Show knowledge of stages of play
  • Show knowledge of life stage theory
  • Understand the ways in which children learn through play

Module 17: Understanding the intellectual & language development of children aged birth to eight years

On completion of this module you will:

  • Understand the stages of intellectual development of children
  • Understand the stages of language development of children
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the importance of communicating with young children
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of factors, which affect intellectual and language development in children

Module 18: Child development & management of pupil behaviour

On completion of this module you will:

  • Be aware of the physical, intellectual, language, emotional and social development of the child
  • Understand the main aspects of social and emotional development
  • Know factors which may affect pupil development and behaviour
  • Know methods for managing pupil behaviour



If you are looking to start an Access to HE Diploma, you should know that the minimum requirements are a GSCE in maths and English at grade C or above. The criteria are typically requested by universities to gain entry to their courses.

Although our Access to HE courses have been designed to satisfy entry requirements to most academic institutions, we would like to remind students that each university and course are different. Some of the special standards, include, but are not limited to:

  1. A particular number of credits passed with a merit or distinction
  2. A face-to-face interview
  3. A literacy and numeracy test provided by university
  4. A course related placement or other relevant work
  5. GCSE Grade A – C in maths and English (or equivalent level 2 such as Functional Skills/Key Skills etc.) Or a full level 2 NVQ qualification in a related subject.

If this diploma is a means towards a higher education course, learners should conduct some research as early as possible to find out the exact criteria of your choice university. Learndirect is not able to accept any liability if anyone completing an Access to HE Diploma fails to secure an offer from their intended university.




At the end of each module you will complete an assessment, to illustrate the knowledge you acquired. The assignments contain a combination of two tasks, for example you could be answering questions, or writing an essay or an academic report.  With the help of your tutors you will gain feedback and learn how to improve and progress throughout the course. There are also “assessment planners” included in your course materials, to make the process as smooth as possible for you.

The assessments account for the 60 credits you will need to successfully complete your Access to HE Diploma. Of these, 45 will be graded modules pertinent to social sciences. The rest of 15 will come from ungraded units regarding academic skills.

We advise you check the entry criteria of your chosen university, to ensure you have the grades required. We will provide as much guidance as possible for your university application.

The approximate amount of time for this course is 324 hours.




On successful completion of the Open College Network West Midlands Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education) you will receive a QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma at level 3 (QAA ref: (400/0388/7). This course has also been assigned 60 credits.

Open College Network West Midlands

Open College Network West Midlands is a national Awarding Organisation, regulated by Ofqual, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and Qualifications Wales, to develop and award nationally recognised qualifications.

Open College Network West Midlands work in partnership with employers, training providers, colleges, universities, schools and voluntary and community organisations to offer vocational credit-based qualifications, Access to Higher Education Diplomas and quality assured Customised Accreditation that enables learners gain employment or to progress into further learning and Higher Education. Open College Network West Midlands also Quality Endorse organisations internal training and skills delivery.



Your Access to Higher Education Diploma and the way it is delivered within our innovative learning platform is designed to give you the best possible chance of fulfilling your dream of studying at university. Higher Education Degrees confirm to any employer your intellect, motivation and ability to work independently to succeed not just in your area of specialism but also life itself. A higher education degree is a gateway qualification that will allow you to apply 1,000's of graduate programmes as well as setting you apart from those who don't have a degree.



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